Assessment of Gender-based Violence in Kenya's North Eastern Province
A qualitative assessment of gender-based violence among the Somali population in Wajir District in North Eastern Kenya identified a critical need for, and possible components of, a comprehensive and culturally appropriate model for the prevention and management of sexual and gender-based violence.
A survey conducted in 2006 by CARE Kenya indicated that sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is widespread throughout Kenya’s North Eastern Province. The survey also revealed that high levels of stigma and gender imbalances are associated with sexual violence and with female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and that a coordinated and comprehensive approach is urgently needed to respond to the needs of survivors of SGBV and to reduce its incidence.
The Population Council undertook a study in Wajir District, North Eastern Province, to determine the reasons why and the context within which SGBV occurs in this province, which is populated largely by the Somali community. The study also identified possible components of an integrated and comprehensive services model that would be able to meet the particular needs of SGBV survivors and reduce future incidence of SGBV in the province. The assessment described the perceptions, attitudes, and practices that exist among the Somali through in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and facility record reviews.
The study confirmed that sexual violence is widespread in this community, and that unmarried girls between the ages of 9 and 15 years appear to be the most vulnerable. Factors contributing to the perpetuation of violence are: cultural practices such as abduction and early child marriage; gender and cultural roles that limit girls’ access to education; the community’s interpretation of the appropriate age of marriage for a girl; housing arrangements that enable SGBV to occur; and inter-tribal conflicts, in which rape and acts of bestiality are committed for revenge.Many respondents recommended that services for the medical management of sexual violence should be integrated into existing reproductive health or HIV voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) services. Medical examinations could be done by trained nurses or medical officers, while VCT counselors should be trained in rape trauma counseling. It was suggested that postexposure prophylaxis for HIV must be made widely available. Also noted was the need for stronger links between the police and the district hospital, with trained and designated staff assigned to deal specifically with SGBV survivors at each institution. Community members expressed the feeling that religious leaders have a key role to play in prevention of rape and defilement, through sensitization of communities on Islam’s position on the rights of girls and women and on SGBV and intimate partner violence.
An assessment of sexual and gender based violence in Wajir district, North Eastern Kenya (PDF)
Mwangi,Gladys K.; Jaldesa,Guyo
Publication date: 2009
Location: Kenya (Wajir District, North Eastern Province)
Sexual and gender-based violence
Duration: 1/2008 - 12/2008
Population Council researchers:
Guyo W. Jaldesa (consultant)
Canadian International Development Agency/Gender Equity Support Project (CIDA/GESP)